The coronavirus outbreak has been accompanied by the circulation of many conspiracy theories about the origin of the virus, which most were published, inter alia, in the Arab media and especially in the Palestinian media.
The devastating spread of the deadly coronavirus across every continent– with the exception of Antarctica– has triggered a conspiracy theory on social media: what if the virus was really a biological weapon?
And more specifically, was it an experimental weapon that accidentally escaped from a laboratory in China?
Or as others contend, is it a weapon surreptitiously introduced to de-stabilize a country with more than 1.4 billion people and described as the world’s second largest economy, after the United States.
However, both narratives are considered false, and probably part of a deliberate disinformation campaign, according to military experts.
The technology did not exist a century ago to manufacture biological agents. It seems the Great War itself was the root cause of the pandemic as soldiers returning home from the bloody battlefields spread the virus far and wide.
Parish priest of Seriate, Don Mario stands by one of the coffins stored into the church of San Giuseppe in Seriate, near Bergamo, Lombardy, on March 26, 2020, during the country’s lockdown following the COVID-19 new coronavirus pandemic. Photo/COurtesy
War is inherently debilitating and destructive. That is why in the Scriptures Jehovah’s judgments always came in a triplicate set; namely, the sword, famine and pestilence.
The earliest record of germ warfare dates back to the Middle Ages, when, during the Black Death, diseased corpses were catapulted over the wall of the besieged city of Caffa.
But in the more recent decades, scientists around the world have developed all kinds of microbes that could be used in biological warfare. The advantage of germ or viral warfare is that it may not be perceived as an act of war but as a natural phenomenon.
As far as the current Coronavirus, or Covid-19 as it is called by virologists, I have no way of knowing if it is an intentional act or natural; after all, disease epidemics are fairly common. But given the present state of affairs, it is possible, even probable, that the epidemic is intentional.
At the heart of the world’s unrest is the impending collapse of the British Empire; specifically, the money system. London has made it clear that it is at war with Russia and China– and the United States if it dares to ally itself with them.
China’s Belt and Road project is revolutionizing the Third World, which has long been crushed by the colonial masters. Take the ongoing war in Syria, for example. It is well known that NATO has been using Islamic terrorists to destroy the region. Now, Turkey, a NATO member, is threatening to drag the alliance into a war with Russia just to prevent the Belt and Road Initiative from transforming the Middle East.
Like Satan himself, the ruling oligarchs have the rule-or-ruin mentality.
There should be no doubt that men are more than capable of intentionally causing the destruction of their fellow humans on a vast scale. A slaughter of epic proportions is inevitable.
So, yeah, opening up a new front of biological warfare in the heart of China fits into the pattern of the ongoing psychological, financial, cyber, proxy and propaganda wars. It might be intended to serve as a cover for suddenly collapsing the financial system. Whether or not Coronavirus becomes a full-blown pandemic remains to be seen though. It may become dormant and re-emerge later or mutate into something even more virulent.
But this is not 1918. Nations are much better equipped to deal with epidemics now. And there is a jackpot waiting for the first pharmaceutical company that can mass-produce a vaccine.
One important lesson to be taken to heart is how quickly the world can change; how easily masses of people can be panicked.
It was Wednesday, 29th June 2016. It was sunny, but cold, outside. In this meeting room within State House, it was suddenly cloudy.
For the team the President had just been dressed down, this entire meeting had gone completely out of character. Uhuru Kenyatta was their personal friend. A man, as someone once wrote, from whose cigarette pack you could pick a stick.
But they had forgotten, somewhere around mid-2013, that the man they had helped win the presidency had actually won. That while the campaigns are a rat race with little structure and rules, the presidency is a marathon that demands order, patience, and respect.
In that room, with Uhuru Kenyatta and Manoah Esipisu, sat the top layer of the communications unit.
They all had lofty titles of Senior Directors and Directors of the Presidential Strategic Communications Unit (PSCU). They included Dennis Itumbi, Munyori Buku, James Kinyua, Munira Mohamed, David Nzioka, and Big Ted. For professional communicators, they clearly had not read the mood in the room. Their bosses were quiet; even the man who they thought was the subject of the meeting sat quietly, listening, and taking notes.
And then the hammer fell.
Their bosses had let them run amok with the presidency for long enough.
Without flinching, the president added “You will do what Manoah says. You will send him weekly plans of what you are doing, and weekly reviews of what you’ve done!” He wasn’t asking. By this point, the intrigues within the communication team had become an international spectacle, and the Presidency was in shambles.
“And no more media appearances except with express permission from Manoah!” He added.
In a quickly deleted post on a State House Whatsapp group they used to issue instructions to junior officers, Dennis Itumbi, having not read the signs of the times yet again, took his first aim at Kanze Dena, as he had done for many years, publicly, privately, and covertly, against Manoah. But State House was reclaiming the prestige of the presidency, and with Uhuru’s second term in progress, and the March 9th 2018 handshake giving him political peace, cleaning house. And it had to begin with the communications unit, which had soiled itself so much in public that it had become a story all by itself, and not a good one.
All the unofficial accounts opened and run by the PSCU unit’s rogue elements were deleted in one fell swoop. In an alert sent to media houses by the Chief of Staff, Nzioka Waita, on Friday, July 27th 2018 their tenure as the president’s communicators was effectively ended. In it, Waita clearly indicated the official state house accounts, ending their six-year chaotic run.
But they were not going to go down without fight. They would either burn the house down, in a communications sense, or be invited back. Even worse, their contracts ran upto 2020, and remain in place at the time of writing, but their access to and work for State House was revoked.
In a series of organized communication and false flag attacks using proxies, they waged war against the Presidency by attacking institutions and people close to the Presidency. This was orchestrated to make it look like communications in State House has been in jeopardy since their exit. In private whatsapp groups, they organized attacks against the President’s Delivery Unit, whose Head is also the Chief of Staff, because they blamed him for their ouster in August 2018. He was also the one who locked them out of State House while the President was away in June 2016, and set up the meeting where Uhuru banged the table and tried to set new rules.
A second strategy even before the ouster was to seek space in the Deputy President’s campaign machinery at Harambee Annex. The lesson they had learnt was that the campaign process, with its fluid, chaotic, and exciting energy, is where they thrive best. They ensured all their accounts would retweet everything the DP tweeted. In the only channels that they currently manage, like @Nexuske, their content was geared towards the Deputy President. The 36 bloggers, a unit of mercenary writers and online content creators, now have only one mandate, making the DP trend.
Manoah, now perked in a much saner office in London, must have been watching with amusement…..
Ego had checked in long before the meeting on that day in June 2016.
Even to anyone with no access to the hallowed halls of the House on the Hill, it was clear the communications team had gone from a mercenary unit to a public nuisance. The trail of evidence in this story is built from tweets, leaked documents and emails, legal documents, press releases, and interviews.
It is the story of how the team that became the Presidential Strategic Communications Unit (PSCU) forgot the first law of the 48 Laws of Power “Never Outshine The Master.”
Dennis Itumbi made a name for himself as a whistleblower/blogger at the height of the ICC story. The indictment of Uhuru Kenyatta had introduced legal, political, and communications problems for the candidate and his team.
The decision to run for presidency and build an alliance with William Samoei Ruto, another ICC indictee, challenged the status quo of both local politics and the international order of things. Dennis Itumbi, as a young, curious blogger with itchy fingers fit right in with one purpose. To disseminate information online.
Unfortunately, the team that became the Presidential Strategic Communications Unit (PSCU) forgot the first law of the 48 Laws of Power “Never Outshine The Master.”
Fast forward to 2018, most of the Twitter accounts managed by PSCU were deleted. Chief of Staff and Head of the Presidential Delivery Unit (PDU) Nzioka Waita named four Twitter handles that would only be allowed to tweet for State House.
“Please note that all official communication originating from the President’s Strategic Communications Unit shall be strictly communicated through the aforementioned channels. Operational correspondence by PSCU staff to media outlets will be done through officially assigned “president.go.ke” email addresses,” Nzioka said.
He advised that State House shall not accept any liability or responsibility for any inaccuracies arising from the reliance by a media outlet on communication delivered through any other unofficial means.
For some reason, Itumbi has gravitated towards Deputy President William to whom he has dedicated considerable energy.
Signs that the end for the team was nigh have been all over the place especially because of Itumbi’s conduct.
Itumbi has been a thorn in the flesh of the government with his pro-Ruto rhetoric that has worked hard to portray President Uhuru Kenyatta and his men in government in bad light.
His previous goofs are well known. For instance, on November 26, 2014, he committed a faux pas when he posted pictures of Uhuru returning from a tour of Abu Dhabi as the country mourned victims of a terror attack in Mandera. He later contradicted the then Interior Cabinet Secretary, Joseph Nkaissery, by claiming police officers had lost their lives in the Yumbis attack even though the CS insisted no lives were lost.
He is currently facing criminal charges after he was accused of falsifying a document which the prosecutors say was intended to cause anxiety to the general public.
In the alleged letter, Itumbi had claimed that some of members of the Cabinet were planning to assassinate Deputy President William Ruto.
The letter claimed that there had been an alleged meeting at Hotel La Mada in Nairobi with the DP as the main agenda.
Itumbi now consults for the Strategic Research Unit (SRU) based at Harambee House Annex under Ken Osinde.
You call a friend and arrange to meet for lunch. It’s unseasonably spring like, so you choose a place with outdoor seating, which seems like it should be safer.
As usual, you take all reasonable precautions: You use hand sanitizer, sit a good distance from other customers, and try to avoid touching your face, though that last part is hard. A part of you suspects that this whole thing might be overblown.
What you don’t know is that ten days ago, your friend’s father was a guest of his business partner at the University Club, where he caught the novel coronavirus from the wife of a cryptocurrency speculator. Three days after that, he coughed into his hand before opening the door of his apartment to welcome his son home. The saliva of COVID-19 patients can harbor half a trillion virus particles per teaspoon, and a cough aerosolizes it into a diffuse mist. As your friend walked through the door he took a breath and 32,456 virus particles settled onto the lining of his mouth and throat.
Viruses have been multiplying inside his body ever since. And as he talks, the passage of his breath over the moist lining of his upper throat creates tiny droplets of virus-laden mucus that waft invisibly into the air over your table. Some settle on the as-yet-uneaten food on your plate, some drift onto your fingers, others are drawn into your nasal sinus or settle into your throat.
By the time you extend your hand to shake good-bye, your body is carrying 43,654 virus particles. By the time you’re done shaking hands, that number is up to 312,405.
One of the droplets gets drawn into the branching passages of your lungs and settles on the warm, wet surface, depositing virus particles into the mucus coating the tissue. Each particle is round and very small; if you magnified a human hair so that it was as wide as a football field, the virus particle would be four inches across. The outer membrane of the virus consists of an oily layer embedded with jagged protein molecules called spike proteins. These stick out like the protrusions on a knobby ball chew toy.
In the middle of the virus particle is a coiled strand of RNA, the virus’s genetic material. The payload.
As the virus drifts through the lung’s mucus, it bumps into one of the cells that line the surface. The cell is considerably larger than the virus; on the football-field scale, it’s 26 feet across. A billion years of evolution have equipped it to resist attackers. But it also has a vulnerability — a backdoor. Protruding from its surface is a chunk of protein called angiotensin converting enzyme 2, or ACE2 receptor. Normally, this molecule plays a role in modulating hormone activity within the body. Today, it’s going to serve as an anchor for the coronavirus.
As the spike protein bumps up against the surface of the lung cell, its shape matches that of the ACE2 so closely that it sticks to it like adhesive. The membrane of the virus then fuses with the membrane of the cell, spilling the RNA contents into the interior of the lung cell. The virus is in.
All up and down your lungs, throat, and mouth, the scene is repeated over and over as cell after cell is penetrated and hijacked. Assuming the virus behaves like its relative, SARS, each generation of infection takes about a day and can multiply the virus a millionfold. The replicated viruses spill out into the mucus, invade the bloodstream, and pour through the digestive system.
You don’t feel any of this. In fact, you still feel totally fine. If you have any complaint at all, it’s boredom. You’ve been a dutiful citizen, staying at home to practice social distancing, and after two days of bingeing on the Fast & Furious franchise, you decide that your mental health is at risk if you don’t get outside.
You call up an ex, and she agrees to meet you for a walk along the river. You’re hoping that the end-of-the-world zeitgeist might kindle some afternoon recklessness, but the face mask she’s wearing kills the vibe. Also she tells you that she’s decided to move in with a guy she met at Landmark. You didn’t even know she was into Landmark. She gives you a warm hug as you say good-bye, and you tell her it was great to see her, but you leave feeling deflated. What she doesn’t know is that an hour before, you went to the bathroom and neglected to wash your hands afterward. The invisible fecal smear you leave on the arm of her jacket contains 893,405 virus particles. Forty-seven seconds after she gets home, she’ll hang up her coat and then scratch an itch at the base of her nose just before she washes her hands. In that moment, 9,404 viral particles will transfer to her face.
In five days, an ambulance will take her to HOSPITAL
Like a retail chain gobbled up by private equity, stripped for parts, and left to die, your infected cells spew out virus particles until they burn themselves out and expire.
White blood cells detect the fragments of dead cells and release chemicals called cytokines that serve as an alarm signal, activating other parts of the immune system to swing into action. When responding immune cells identify a cell that has become infected, they attack and destroy it. Within your body, a microscopic Battle of the Somme is raging with your immune system leveling its Big Berthas on both the enemy trenches and its own troops. As the carnage mounts, the body’s temperature rises and the infected area becomes inflamed.
Two days later, sitting down to lunch, you realize that the thought of eating makes you feel nauseated. You lie down and sleep for a few hours. When you wake up, you realize that you’ve only gotten worse. Your chest feels tight, and you’ve got a dry cough that just won’t quit. You wonder: Is this what it feels like? You rummage through your medicine cabinet in vain and ultimately find a thermometer in the back of your linen closet. You hold it under your tongue for a minute and then read the result: 38. Fuck, you think, and crawl back into bed. You tell yourself that it might just be the regular flu, and even if worse comes to worst, you’re young(-ish) and otherwise healthy. You’re not in the high-risk group.
You’re right, of course, in a sense. For most people infected with the coronavirus, that’s as far as it goes. With bed rest, they get better. But for reasons scientists don’t understand, about 20 percent of people get severely ill. Despite your relative youth, you’re one of them.
After four days of raging fever and feeling sore all over, you realize that you’re sicker than you’ve ever been in your life. You’ve got a dry cough that shakes you so hard that your back hurts. Fighting for breath, you order an Uber and head to the nearest emergency room.
(You leave 376,345,090 virus particles smeared on various surfaces of the car and another 323,443,865 floating in aerosols in the air.)
At the ER, you’re examined and sent to an isolation ward. As doctors wait for the results of a test for the coronavirus, they administer a CT scan of your lungs, which reveals tell-tale “ground-glass opacities,” fuzzy spots caused by fluid accumulating where the immune-system battle is the most intense. Not only have you got COVID-19, but it’s led to a kind of intense and dangerous pneumonia called acute-respiratory-distress syndrome, or ARDS.
With all the regular beds already occupied by the many COVID-19 sufferers, you’re given a cot in a room alongside five other patients. Doctors put you on an intravenous drip to supply your body with nutrients and fluids as well as antiviral medicine. Within a day of your arrival, your condition deteriorates. You throw up for several days and start to hallucinate. Your heart rate slows to 50 beats a minute. When a patient in the next room dies, doctors take the ventilator he was using and put you on it. By the time the nurse threads the endotracheal tube down your throat, you’re only half-conscious of the sensation of it snaking deeper and deeper toward your lungs. You just lie there as she places tape over your mouth to keep the tube in place.
You’re crashing. Your immune system has flung itself into a “cytokine storm” — an overdrive of such intensity that it is no longer fighting just the viral infection but the body’s own cells as well. White blood cells storm your lungs, destroying tissue. Fluid fills the tiny alveolar sacs that normally let the blood absorb oxygen. Effectively, you’re drowning, even with the ventilator pumping oxygen-enriched air into your lungs.
That’s not the worst of it. The intensity of the immune response is such that under its onslaught, organs throughout the body are shutting down, a process known as multiple-organ-dysfunction syndrome, or MODS. When your liver fails, it is unable to process toxins out of your blood, so your doctors rush to hook you up to a round-the-clock dialysis machine. Starved of oxygen, your brain cells begin to expire.
You’re fluttering on the edge between life and death. Now that you’ve slipped into MODS, your odds are 50-50 or worse. Owing to the fact that the pandemic has stretched the hospital’s resources past the breaking point, your outlook is even bleaker.
Lying on your cot, you half-hear as the doctors hook you up to an extracorporeal-membrane-oxygenation (ECMO) machine. This will take over the work of your heart and lungs and hopefully keep you alive until your body can find its way back to equilibrium.
This is a common fight – in ground zero, in global laboratories, in hospitals, in our homes and society against a mysterious and deadly viral intruder.
The human spirit is fighting back with vigour on three fronts – by saving lives, in its efforts to seek and find the source of the strain, and by working to develop a drug and a vaccine against the scourge.
People are angry, anxious and frustrated.
The fragmentation of society has been lamented for some time, and now, the coronavirus is driving us further apart.
Shall we still overcome hand in hand once again?
It is indeed a people’s war as Chinese President Xi Jinping said against an organism that few, except specialists in epidemiology and virology, have little knowledge about.
Regardless of the different usages of this gospel song, ‘”We shall overcome’ throughout history, its roots go back to churches in America. It was based on biblical messages emphasising on how to live with the Spirit of God.
Everyone in Kenya is facing different degrees of hardship now, so we are all equal in some ways. We all call this country home and, now that we are collectively suffering, let’s find joy in battling this hardship hand in hand.
Of course, that is contrary to the normal hardship.
But the smart people of Kenya should be able to understand that our experience of adversity can be counted as a deposit in the bank of life and not a withdrawal.
We may not be able to control our circumstances as ordinary citizens, but we can surely control how we think about our circumstances. Instead of thinking about them negatively, we could view what we are now experiencing as a process of growth and strength worth rejoicing over, despite our pain today.
We should be able to learn and get through this together and become stronger. Only in turbulent waters, can we be purified of all that is false and useless.
This is a perfect time for us to reboot our country and walk hand in hand. It is a time not for stigma but solidarity.
Let’s stop reading, close our eyes and sing this song together again.
We shall overcome / We shall overcome / We shall overcome, someday / Oh, deep in my heart / I do believe / We shall overcome, someday
We’ll walk hand in hand / We’ll walk hand in hand / We’ll walk hand in hand, someday / Oh, deep in my heart / I do believe / We shall overcome, someday
We shall live in peace / We shall live in peace / We shall live in peace, someday / Oh, deep in my heart / I do believe / We shall overcome, someday
We are not afraid / We are not afraid / We are not afraid, today.
Kenyans must avoid misinformation that causes panic and anxiety.
“Let us remember that as Kenyans, we have been faced with other crisis in the past, and we have always triumphed by coming together in the spirit of national unity and cooperation.
Every Kenyan has a responsibility in ensuring they play their part in safeguarding lives. This pandemic will test us, as it is testing all countries, but I do not believe it will defeat us.
If we pull together, and everybody does their part, we shall overcome its worst impacts” President Uhuru
The infamous handshake between President Uhuru and Opposition leader Raila Odinga in 2018, coupled with the launch of the Building Bridges Initiative a few months ago are touted to herald a new dispensation for the country.
Since independence, it appears the country has had numerous moments to hit the restart button.
Those familiar with evangelical Christianity will be reminded of the concept of being “born again” during which an individual turns on his past to start living a new life in a relationship with God.
In 1963, Kenya had her first moment of being “born again” when the nation hoisted the national flag after gaining independence.
But it seems things went haywire immediately after. Less than five years down the line, the relationships among top leaders had gone sour.
The centre ceased to hold and Pio Gama Pinto lay in his driveway brought down by a gunman, one of the first mystery assassinations in Kenya.
Soon, others followed: Tom Mboya, J. M Kariuki and then some. Political temperatures went a notch higher and the first Vice President, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga was jettisoned from power. It set in motion the downward spiral from which we have never fully recovered.
There has been no shortage of high tempo moments in Kenyan politics. On the one hand, corruption was beginning to firm up its grip on the country while a gang of leaders were obsessed with the succession agenda planning how to manage the post-Kenyatta era.
In the meantime, all the indicators of development in the country were deteriorating. The Nairobi that had been the envy of many across the world was losing its sheen, fast.
The year 1978 was probably a watershed period with the curtains coming down on the first act of Kenya’s independence.
It was another moment of being “born again”.
Mzee Jomo Kenyatta passed on in the quietness of the night and the country miraculously managed a smooth transition to a new presidency, a rarity of Africa those days.
When Daniel Moi took over, it was another moment of rebirth. Once again, Kenya had an opportunity to reset the start button.
The new face at State House heralded new hope and Moi went around the country assuring the nation that he was not going to upset the apple cart, but will fuata nyayo of Kenya’s first independence government.
Moi, then perceived to come from one of the minority communities, carried the hope of many Kenyans who had grown hopeless in the then existing atmosphere where the presidency seemed to be held hostage by well-cultivated regional interests.
But the hoped-for tranquillity was not to be. Again, less than five years into his presidency, the nation was sliding into another dangerous territory.
The attempted coup of 1982 was a low moment in the nation’s history resulting in the loss of many lives. In those days when military coups were the order of the day in the continent, Kenya was not any different.
Kenya never recovered from that attempted coup. President Moi, who emerged at the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation to announce that order had been restored in the country, was a wounded man and it would show in his administration.
President Uhuru Kenyatta and Rt. Hon. @RailaOdinga
during an International Luncheon at Hilton hotel, Washington DC where they both were key speakers.
He trusted those around him less, concentrated power in the hands of a few, detained people irregularly, and the rest is history.
The series of initiatives by the government for another national rebirth was never fully realised until 2002 when the NARC administration headed by Mwai Kibaki came to power and the country announced itself as the most hopeful on the face of the earth.
But old habits die hard and soon, the country was in the trenches again after the disputed outcome of the 2007 general elections. Kenya got “born again” with the 2010 Constitution, but it is obvious that with every step the country makes, there are many distractions and those steps are never steady.
So here we are, with Handshake and BBI, another moment to be born again. UhuRaila have shown all signs that they are faithful to keep their promise, to never again fall back to the old bad habits. All Kenyans should join them too.
Former US President Bill Clinton, while running for Presidency in 1992, is said to have popularised the slogan: “It is the economy, fool.”
The magic handshake between opposition leader Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta may not have been viewed by many as an economic move, but it may just turn out to be the one that got businesses off the ground.
“International goodwill and foreign policy are benchmarked political stability,” says Dr Scholastica Odhiambo, an Economics lecturer at Maseno University.
For President Uhuru and the technocrats around him, they realised that running a modern economy is complex and even when all other key economic variables remain unbroken, psychology and perception played a bigger part in the unfolding economic rot.
Insiders who are familiar with the deal say fixing these twin problems has been Uhuru’s administration’s biggest headache which needed to be addressed urgently.
“The benefits of the new deal outweigh its cost,” noted an insider who declined to be named.
What has been very clear to Uhuru’s administration is that, economic revival requires more than the strict round of belt-tightening or the suggested austerity measures.
However, there are those who think “politics of Kenya should remain as has been and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.”
This school of thought still thinks along ethnic lines and defines the State as an arena of ethnic contestation when people take turns to share the spoils or the cake. This school of thought considers political corruption as a norm, and the winner regardless of whom, he or she wins, takes all.
It never ceases to amaze me, the complexities involved in Kenya’s politics.
Never mind the reality that politics in Kenya is completely intertwined with everyday life, but the deeply rooted belief system where certain individuals acquire almost godlike reverence from their supporters, baffles me. And when the reaction is hate, it is a total hatred that can spark off a civil war, if not carefully managed by brink men masterminds who litter either side of the political divide.
But what intrigues me most about politics in Kenya is the behind the scenes wars fought from one election cycle to the next.
There are almost always two forces behind these wars: sustaining corruption networks and selecting a winning candidate for the next election.
In Kenya, like most nations around the world, diversionary tactics are used to distract the collective national attention from a serious issue.
Right now there is a serious effort mounted by President Kenyatta to develop the regions while combating historic corruption. Many casual observers say that this campaign against corruption is widening a rift between the President and his Deputy, William Ruto, who has been adversely mentioned in several newspapers and tabloids as a corruption czar.
However, this ongoing push by Kenyatta is likely to see many of the old guard involved in corruption exposed or out in the cold by the time the next elections come around. So they have begun election-mongering early and by doing so, united themselves against the President on just about every issue.
A few years ago, the expression ‘kutanga tanga’ was introduced to political speak by President Kenyatta.
It was a coded reference to DP William Ruto who was at the time touring the country in a campaign mood. The word itself means to aimlessly wander about and it displayed perfectly that while the President was focusing on development (he was issuing title deeds to disenfranchised local residents at the time), other politicians were focusing on the wrong agenda for the time since the next election is 4 years off.
Legislators affiliated to Tangatanga faction of Jubilee Photo/Courtesy
So what do the Tanga tanga politicians really want?
The first aim is to discredit President Kenyatta in his own Mt. Kenya backyard. It is no secret in Kenya that the region overwhelmingly supports the President and any open opposition to him could be politically suicidal for anyone in the region. The main thrust of this plan is to blame the President for the apparent lack of development in the region. Like any other pedestrian observer, I was shocked to be told that the area is barely developed. But yesterday afternoon, I sat with a friend of mine, Wairuri wa Mwaniki, who shed some light on this propaganda.
Ever since Kenyatta took office, Mt. Kenya region has received over Ksh. 174 Billion earmarked for development projects. These include roads, dams, irrigation, electricity connection, hospitals and schools. The region is more developed than Western Kenya and the North Eastern region combined. Kiambu County alone has more kilometers of tarmacked roads (1,385) than the entirety of Kakamega, Bungoma and Vihiga combined (700 for all Western Kenya Counties). There are 1,145 primary schools in Kiambu to 289 primary schools in the entire North Eastern region. There are more hospitals in Central Kenya than you can find in the Rift Valley region.
Deputy President William Ruto and former Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu during Waititu’s daughter’s wedding in Kiambu in July 2019 Photo/Courtesy
So it is not that the region is not developed. Central Kenya is so grossly over-developed compared to the rest of Kenya that an examination of the facts and figures makes you appreciate the conscious effort made by President Kenyatta to fast-track development of the rest of the country.
This is just a symptom of a silent war. This war is being waged not in the Kenyan Parliament where it can be muted easily by fact, but in Tanga tanga territory; public rallies, funerals and fund raisers. The speakers at these events are familiar faces including Moses Kuria and Kimani Ngunjiri. They will almost always be in the company of DP William Ruto and the bossom topic will be, the 2022 election (the distraction) and the launch of a mundane project which will scarcely be remembered by the press in a week’s time.
A cursory glance of the headlines reveals that these MPs have launched 68 ‘development projects’ in 2018, all of which have vanished into thin air at the time of writing this.
The projects of course are a smoke screen. It is common knowledge that William Ruto will be a tough sell to Central Kenya but it is also calculated that by securing him as a president, those who will have aided his rise will be allowed special favors in the new administration.
More often than not, these new favors are linked to protecting corruption empires which have been under the spot light, thanks to President Kenyatta’s war on corruption.
Kenyans are not the political ignoramuses of a decade ago where anything said by a local mheshimiwa was gospel truth. A majority of Kenyans actually know that the push for local development comes from local leadership and the devolved government system.
The real ‘washenzi’ are the leaders who politick without a development track record and are like a guardian, protecting the corrupt.
While an unoccupied minority screams on social media, it would be a good time to keep your eyes on the bigger picture. Kenyan drug dealers have fingered the judiciary as complicit in the drug trade in Africa; mega-corruption cases are working their way through the court system (and threaten to take down some well-connected politicians, some of whom are Tanga tanga members). One Governor has already been impeached and two others are in the out-tray.
Conspiracy is taking shape to cripple investigations carried out by the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions on these Governors’ cases.
Legislators allied to Ruto’s Tanga tanga faction are hell bent to protect the corrupt lawmakers with threats to impeach the President, a task which is equivalent to an exercise in futility.
The swamp must be drained